Plant Interactions with Biogeochemical Environments

Chapter

Abstract

Plants are essentially chemical factories that naturally produce sugar by using the raw materials of CO2, light energy, and hydrogen from the splitting of water. A waste product of this production of sugar, oxygen, and its release to the environment led to the oxidation of previously reduced metals, such as iron, that currently are used by man. This oxygen release resulted in the demise of many predominant forms of anaerobic life early in the earth’s history or forced them into seclusion through burial in sediments. It also stimulated the development of aerobic respiration as a way to deal with the toxic oxygen gas—this scenario set the stage for all other aerobic forms of life, including us, to develop. Plants carried out these processes while constantly responding to changes in their environment from natural threats, such as fires, volcanic eruptions, radiation emitted from cooling rocks, methane releases, advancing glaciers, herbivory, and toxic concentrations of metal deposits. The plants that survived had selective advantages relative to those that could not cope with these threats.

Keywords

Root Zone Iron Uptake Hydrologic Cycle Natural Attenuation Aerobic Respiration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South Carolina Water Science CenterU.S. Geological SurveyColumbiaUSA

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